Choosing a major in the School of Architecture at UT Austin
What majors may an undergraduate applicant choose?
What is it like to major in Architecture or Interior Design?
How does the architecture program at UT Austin compare with other schools?
What is the difference between architecture and interior design?
What is the difference between architecture and architectural engineering?
How do I apply as a freshman applicant?
What is required for the application?
Do you require a portfolio?
What should I include in my application materials?
Do I need a specific class rank, GPA, or SAT/ACT score to apply or be admitted?
Are specific high school courses required?
Would it be beneficial for me to attend a community college prior to applying to the school of architecture, and would I save money?
Should I list majors from the School of Architecture as my first and second choice majors on the application?
How many students are in the School of Architecture, and how many students do you accept each year?
How do I apply for financial aid and/or scholarships?
Do you allow deferrals of the admission decision to another year?
Are new students required to attend UT Orientation?
What laptop should I purchase and when should I purchase it?
What is a supply kit and how/when should I purchase it?
How can I establish Texas residency?
What is your student to faculty ratio in design studios?
Do the School of Architecture degrees require calculus and physics?
What test scores award credit by examination?
WHAT MAJORS MAY AN UNDERGRADUATE APPLICANT CHOOSE?
Undergraduate degrees are available in architecture and interior design. To be considered for admission, you must list architecture or interior design as your first-choice major. We do not review applications in which interior design or architecture is the second-choice major. The undergraduate programs offered by the School of Architecture include the following:
- Bachelor of Science in Interior Design
- Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies
- Bachelor of Architecture
- Bachelor of Architecture/Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering*
- Bachelor of Architecture/Bachelor of Arts in Plan II
*Note: Students admitted to the Bachelor of Architecture/Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering will complete degree requirements through the School of Architecture (Bachelor of Architecture) and the Cockrell School of Engineering (Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering). Applicants are strongly encouraged to also familiarize themselves with the Cockrell School of Engineering.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO MAJOR IN ARCHITECTURE OR INTERIOR DESIGN?
Visit the following external sites for thorough descriptions.
- Archiculture: a documentary film that explores the architectural studio
- Do You Want to Be an Architect?
- Cut and Paste Primer on Architecture School Part I
- Cut and Paste Primer on Architecture School Part II
- Do You Want to Be An Architect, the College Years
- 100 years of Texas Architecture and Building
HOW DOES THE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM AT UT AUSTIN COMPARE WITH OTHER SCHOOLS?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN?
Read about the differences between architecture and interior design.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING?
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT?
There are three categories to pursue registration as an architect: Education, Experience, and Examination. These requirements are often referred to as the “Three E's." Texas requires the following:
- Education [professional degree; NAAB-accredited Bachelor of Architecture]
- Experience [Architectural Experience Program]
- Examination [Architect Registration Examination]
Please see the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards [NCARB] website for the most up-to-date information.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BECOME AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?
Becoming an interior designer involves enrollment in a college or university program followed by several years of professional experience, typically under the supervision of a qualified interior designer. There is also a qualifying exam. These requirements as known as the “Three E’s”:
- Education [professional degree; CIDA-accredited Bachelor of Science in Interior Design or NAAB-accredited Bachelor of Architecture]
- Experience [2 years of experience under a registered interior designer or architect]
- Examination [NCIDQ Examination]
Please see the National Council for Interior Design Qualification [NCIDQ] website for the most up-to-date information.
WHERE DO GRADUATES OF THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE WORK AFTER GRADUATING?
HOW DO I APPLY AS A FRESHMAN APPLICANT?
The UT Austin Office of Admissions administers freshman admission for the School of Architecture. To be considered for admission, you must list architecture or interior design as your first-choice major. We do not review applications in which interior design or architecture is the second-choice major.
WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION?
For your convenience, below is an abbreviated list of application requirements due by the December 1st deadline, as the School of Architecture offers admission only to the fall semester. However, all applications are handled by the University's Office of Admissions, so their website and office are the best sources of information. To be considered for admission to the School of Architecture, you must list architecture or interior design as your first-choice major. We do not review applications that list interior design or architecture as the second-choice major.
[ ] ApplyTexas application
[ ] Essay A and short-answer items
[ ] $75 non-refundable application fee [$90 for international applicants]
[ ] SAT or ACT test scores
[ ] High school transcript(s) + any college transcript(s)
[ ] Recommendation Letter(s) [optional, but strongly encouraged]
[ ] Expanded Resume [optional]
[ ] Student Information Form
*International applicants should be aware of additional admission requirements/information.
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DO YOU REQUIRE A PORTFOLIO?
We do not require nor accept portfolios for freshman admissions.
WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY APPLICATION MATERIALS?
While the University of Texas at Austin does not require letters of recommendation, the School of Architecture encourages you to include up to two letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, band directors, etc. The letters may give our faculty selection committee more information about you as a person and as a participant within a larger group, and they do not necessarily have to mention architecture or interior design specifically.
Your essay and short-answer items may demonstrate your understanding of what it is like to major in architecture or interior design, your creativity, or your personal observations of good design.
The faculty admissions committee uses a holistic review and values
passion for architecture or interior design
sense of ease in receiving and giving critique and feedback
ability to incorporate the provided feedback and critique into changing your design
comfort with ambiguity
- capabilities in making decisions
- ability to collaborate or work in groups
The design-based study of architecture and interior design is an open-ended process involving multiple iterations to reach a final design, and you may discuss your anticipation of the process.
DO I NEED A SPECIFIC CLASS RANK, GPA, OR SAT/ACT SCORE TO APPLY OR BE ADMITTED?
We do not have minimum admissions requirements, but those who are admitted typically fall in the top quarter of their class, have a high school GPA of 3.0 or above, and have a high SAT or ACT test score.
ARE SPECIFIC HIGH SCHOOL COURSES REQUIRED?
The Office of Admissions maintains minimum high school course requirements for freshman application eligibility. Refer to the Office of Admissions website for information on these course requirements. The School of Architecture does not impose additional requirements.
Note: Prospective applicants with an interest in applying to the Bachelor of Architecture/Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering dual degree must also meet the requirements for admission to the Cockrell School of Engineering.
WOULD IT BE BENEFICIAL FOR ME TO ATTEND A COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRIOR TO APPLYING TO THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, AND WOULD I SAVE MONEY?
Unfortunately, for professional design-based degrees in architecture and interior design, attending community college first adds cost and time to the ultimate completion of the professional degrees. The most efficient means of attaining a professional undergraduate degree in architecture or interior design is to apply as a freshman to the School of Architecture. As you pursue your degree within the School of Architecture, you may take community college courses in summers that allow for focus and a lighter course load during fall and spring semesters at the University of Texas at Austin.
SHOULD I LIST MAJORS FROM THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AS MY SECOND CHOICE MAJOR ON THE APPLICATION?
No. If a student is not admitted into their first major choice within the School of Architecture, he or she will not be accepted into another major offered by the School. Therefore, your first major choice must be one of the five programs offered by the School of Architecture, and the second choice should be a major offered within another college or school at the University. If unsure, we recommend that applicants select “undeclared” within the School of Undergraduate Studies as their second major choice.
HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE IN THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, AND HOW MANY STUDENTS DO YOU ACCEPT EACH YEAR?
The School of Architecture consists of roughly 330 undergraduate students and 370 graduate students. Out of approximately 1,000 freshman applicants, 120 students are admitted.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID AND/OR SCHOLARSHIPS?
Please refer to the Financial Aid Office website for the most current information regarding financial aid and scholarships.
All freshmen admitted to the School of Architecture will be considered for School of Architecture freshman scholarships; there is no separate application. Approximately 10% of our admitted freshmen will receive a scholarship offer directly from the School of Architecture. Offers are extended from late February through late April, and are based on need and merit.
Currently enrolled School of Architecture students are eligible to apply for continuihng cholarships during the spring semesters.
DO YOU ALLOW DEFERRALS OF THE ADMISSION DECISION TO ANOTHER YEAR?
No. If you do not plan to enroll the semester to which you are admitted, you may apply again for the following fall. There is no guarantee you will be admitted again. You may lose your eligibility to apply a second time as a freshman; check with the Office of Admissions for the criteria to apply as a freshman or transfer. If you do not qualify to apply as a freshman, you must apply as a transfer applicant. Please see the eligibility rules for applying as a transfer applicant, and note that transfer applicants must be both in an architecture (or interior design) program at the school from which they are applying to transfer and must submit a portfolio.
ARE NEW STUDENTS REQUIRED TO ATTEND FRESHMAN ORIENTATION?
We expect all incoming freshmen to attend one of the two School of Architecture summer orientation sessions.
What laptop should I purchase and when should I purchase it?
Admitted students will receive detailed information about the school’s Student Computer Policy as well as the updated hardware recommendations during Freshman Orientation. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you purchase your laptop after attending Freshmen Orientation. Students are advised to obtain individual software as it becomes required in courses. Software requirements will be communicated by the instructor and will be listed in the course syllabus. Often times, students may obtain the software at no cost or reduced cost as a student enrolled in the School of Architecture.
What is a supply kit and how/when should I purchase it?
The supply kit is a bundled package of items required for all students in the Architecture and Interior Design programs; many of the items will continue to be used through the course of study. The supply kit is a one-time purchase at the beginning of the first semester, and the cost may range from $650-800, as the specific items in the kit can vary from year to year. Students will receive the supply kit information on the first or second class day from the Visual Communication instructors. A local vendor provides a reduced-cost supply kit that is often more economical than purchasing each item individually, but students may choose where and how to purchase the supply kit items. Students who may be bringing supplies they already own can purchase any remaining items individually. All students are advised not to bring supplies or purchase the supply kit until they obtain their individual studio key.
HOW CAN I ESTABLISH TEXAS RESIDENCY?
The residency specialist in the Graduate and International Admissions Center [GIAC] provides details about establishing residency and can be contacted for all residency questions.
WHAT IS YOUR STUDENT TO FACULTY RATIO IN DESIGN STUDIOS?
14 to 1.
DO THE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE DEGREES REQUIRE CALCULUS AND PHYSICS?
Both calculus and physics are required for all architecture degrees. Physics is required for the Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Applicants may do themselves a favor by taking high-level math courses and physics in high school.
For interior design applicants: Calculus is not required for the interior design degree, but students may opt to use calculus to fulfill the interior design math degree requirement. Interior design students have the option to use any math course that satisfies the core curriculum for math.
You may earn college-level course credit for calculus, physics, and math while in high school by taking certain exams, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or SAT Subject Tests.
WHAT TEST SCORES AWARD CREDIT BY EXAMINATION?
The University of Texas at Austin has a centralized Student Testing Services center that maintains credit by examination policies. You may find it helpful to also view the courses that fulfill Texas common core curriculum requirements as you are viewing the credit awarded for tests.